For years I felt like I was walking on a tightrope.
Staying in recovery felt like timidly inching across this tiny wire, thousands of feet in the air. I imagined plummeting to my demise with one misstep.
A balancing act
One wrong move and I would fall into the abyss of bulimia on one side- using food to stuff my feelings until I felt I would burst, only to purge those feelings until I felt numb. Leaning to far to the other side I could fall into the dark hole of anorexia.
It seemed I could walk ever so carefully on this unsteady wire of “recovery” for a few steps. Yet the minute I took my focus off of remaining in the middle, I was sure to fall.
It was a very tenuous place to live- this “middle” space in recovery. While it includes abstaining from eating disorder behavior, it’s not free of the rigid rules, the harsh inner critic, or the constant worry and fear of an eating disorder.
Sometimes I tried to get further across this tightrope by closing my eyes and running. At times it worked. Other times I fell.
Now, I realize that trying to recover “perfectly” is not real recovery at all.
I wanted to abstain from “ED behaviors” but was still living in the diet mentality. I was still trying to control my body and other aspects of my life thinking “control” would lead to true happiness.
Through it all, I longed to get off the tightrope and to stand on solid ground.
But I was so focused on remaining on the tightrope that I couldn’t see anything else. I didn’t realize it was possible to climb off of the tightrope. The choice to step away from the dark holes of the eating disorders and find steady ground was mine.
On solid ground
Now on this solid ground, I am free to run, jump, or walk slowly when I wan to. I can choose to leap ahead when my soul leads me to.
The ground may be mushy and wet at times, but I know that it can hold my weight.
The foundation is made of things like self-compassion, forgiveness, and flexibility. It’s built on trust and faith. It’s also built on letting go of trying to control what I can’t control and letting go of the past. And of course, it requires me to surrender trying to control my body.
It is built on the understanding that we are all standing on common ground and are more connected to one another than we are separate. We are all worthy, valuable and lovable, just as we are- just because we are.
THIS is the solid foundation I now dance on.
No longer on the tightrope, I feel a sense of peace under me. Now, I finally understand that everything will be okay- and I’m okay.
Want to get off the tightrope?
Sometimes I wonder how was I able to finally get off the tightrope. How did I get out of the middle-place of “pseudo-recovery”?
The answer is this: I had to take a leap of faith and jump off the tight rope and onto solid ground.
It sounds simple. But there was nothing easy about the process.
It took letting go of all I knew and trusting my treatment team, myself, the universe, and what I believe is G-d. It required clinging to the hope that my life could be lived a different way.
Knowledge also played a large role. Learning about the scientific research that diets don’t work and the Health at Every Size movement created a shift in me.
And perhaps it took falling off of that tightrope and hitting my new bottom to scare me into finally making a change. I’m not sure exactly what it took- but I’m just glad I’m here now.
I admit, sometimes the tight rope is tempting to get back on. I see other people walking on it and it appears so glamorous, so exciting, maybe even fulfilling.
Some are applauded for how well they walk it. But I know, deep inside, that it isn’t for me.
There is much more work for me on this earth and it can’t be accomplished if my energy and creativity is focused on remaining on a tiny piece of wire.
I would rather be on the ground, unleashing my creativity, passions, energy, and love to the world. So please come down off of the tight rope and join me, warriors. I promise- it’s worth it.